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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

Education Funding Constitutional Amendment G Holds On To 8% Lead

Millions of Utahns voted by mail this during election. One of the items on the ballot was Amendment G, which makes major changes to the way Utah’s education system is funded. It was passing by double digits at the end of election night.
Courtesy Polina Konuchkova
More than a million Utahns voted early or by mail during this election. One of the items on the ballot was Amendment G, which makes major changes to the way Utah’s education system is funded. It was passing by 8% Wednesday morning.

Constitutional Amendment G, which would allow money earmarked for education to be spent on programs that benefit children and people with disabilities, is leading by 8% of the vote with 77%of ballots counted.

If passed, another piece of legislation — H.B. 357 — goes into effect that creates an education stabilization fund and requires the Legislature to adjust per-pupil funding for inflation each year.

As of 3:22 p.m. Wednesday, 54% of voters approved it, while about 46% voted against it.

“Early results indicate Utah voters have made the wise decision to grow, stabilize and protect education funding,” Assistant Majority Whip Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, said in a statement Tuesday night. “A broad coalition of educators, business leaders and taxpayer advocates all recognize the benefits of guaranteeing funds to cover student growth and adjust for inflation without raising taxes.”

The Utah Education Association — the state’s largest teacher’s union — said in a statement it was happy with early returns, but more needs to be done for Utah schools.

“While certainly not a final solution to Utah’s public education funding woes, the UEA believes the funding assurance provided in state code as a result of Amendment G may well prove more effective than a constitutionally protected revenue source that has thus far failed to deliver sufficient education funding to keep pace with growing student needs,” the statement read.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, who opposed the measure, said she was disappointed with the results Tuesday night.

“It concerns me and many teachers that the promises made to education groups by passing H.B. 357 as a companion to guarantee full enrollment growth, for example, will not be possible if the economy slows down as a result of the pandemic,” she said in a statement. “To take more money out of the education fund to fund children's social services and people with disabilities will mean less, not more money for education.”

Voices for Utah Children, which also opposed the amendment, said it was disappointed but would now focus its efforts on influencing how the changes will be implemented.

“We have many unmet needs that have been left unaddressed and we will continue to advocate for a greater investment in our kids,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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